A confession of sorts recently came to my inbox: this mama thing is hard. I don’t doubt the choice I’ve made to stay home with my baby, but I mourn the loss of my dreams, my passions, of the things I’ve set my heart on doing – and I realize and accept that for this season my baby is my one “project” now.
I hear you.
And then this dear friend turned the confessional tables on me, asking how I then was really doing.
It’s been almost two months since I said good-bye to full-time ministry, making the choice to instead stay home with our squirrelly little bugger and begin to tell Truth through story. I refrained from buying business cards, even though everything inside me screamed at the need to market my new title. I began the practice of learning how to BE, how to soak in the moment and notice the little things and accept contentment and pat the puppy.
So how then am I really doing? When my own glittering image of who I think I’m supposed to be is set aside and I’m laid bare, I speak honestly from the heart, because there’s power in Truth and I know that my own honesty gives others permission to do the same.
I love what Shauna Niequist said in a recent blog entitled, “Why We Write”:
“You get into it because you have a story to tell, because you sense, in some wordless, wild way that you don’t know why and you didn’t earn it or ask for it, but for some reason, there are things you can find words for that might maybe matter to someone else, that might set someone free, that will make them feel one tiny bit less alone, like they’ve made a friend, like they’re not crazy, like they’re not wrong just for being who they are.”
So again, how then am I really doing?
I’m a mixed bag. One minute, I’m full of contentment as I sit here, still in my mama-yoga uniform at 1:17 in the afternoon while Cancan lounges in his PJ’s. I listen to the rain pound against the skylight and I wonder when the sun’s going to come out and if we’ll get to go on a long walk around the neighborhood. And then I catch my son staring at me, yearning for attention and approval and quite simply love, and I think to myself, what is more important than him right now? So it takes me two hours to eat my yogurt and the coffee temperature doesn’t even qualify as luke-warm anymore and it’s taken me three hours to write a mere 400 words. And I think to myself, this, this is enough.
But I still haven’t even answered the question yet.
I think about a day like last Tuesday, when I unexpectedly found myself walking into a room full of people in ministry, whose job titles mirrored mine the previous eight years of life. Awkwardly I stand there, one hand on the stroller while Baby breathlessly snores inside; two months ago I would have begun to play the networking game, shaking hands and kissing babies, always amazed at the six degrees of Kevin Bacon within our overlapping circles. But today I don’t say anything. I don’t network and I don’t even introduce myself, but I quietly, wordlessly exit the room.
And I’m okay with it. I think. For now. Because in letting myself be, I’m letting myself mourn and grieve the loss of a job title and a contributing paycheck to our family’s income, even though it sometimes makes me feel lost inside.
I still want to buy business cards that read, “Cara Meredith, writer and speaker,” in loopy, cursive writing, but still I refrain because I’m learning that a piece of paper doesn’t make me any more – or less – worthy than I was before.
And if I’m really honest, I admit that the hardest part about leaving a job in a relational ministry is that the people still exist, even if you’re not there to chase after them, steering the direction of friendship – and they’re then not pursuing you in return now that the tables have turned.
And that makes my heart ache, as my eyes fill with tears.
Hurt and loss and mourning are juxtaposed against contentment and joy and peace, which I suppose is the cycle of life’s journey.
That’s the Truth of today, the Truth of this story, the Truth of BEing.
What about you?
What’s your Truth today?
How are you, really?0